Short Story in a Song— The Kinks’ “Picture Book” by S W Lauden

After countless thousands of hours spent thinking about rock and roll, I’ve decided The Kinks are the common denominator for most of my favorite music. Something Else by The Kinks (1967) was a go-to for years, but in the past decade I’ve spent more time with their misunderstood 1968 masterpiece The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society (read the 33 1/3 book about the album—it’s excellent). My favorite song on Village Green is “Picture Book.” It would make a great short story.

Our protagonist is old for his age. In the prime of his life, he’s overwhelmed by a sense of nostalgia that has him prematurely reflecting on his recent childhood and distant demise. He turns the pages of an old family photo album taking in the images with a heavy heart. There’s an innocent happiness there that he’s lost touch with in early adulthood, fueling his maudlin melancholia. It’s likely that he’s got another 50 or 60 years ahead of him, but it might feel twice as long if he doesn’t learn to find happiness in the moment. There’s a part of him that never will.

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in LA.

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